January 25, 2024
Picturesque Maine, known for a captivating coastline with world-class lobsters, a breathtaking mountain region, home to the Northeast’s greatest ski resorts and a portion of the Appalachian Trail. People come from all over the world to visit and consume our little slice of God’s country.
Scenic Route 2 ran right through my sleepy little town taking tourists from the coast to the mountains and into Canada if they kept on going. The one traffic light that went up when I was in high school managed the heavy traffic of locals who wanted to leave residential Weld Street and venture on to Route 2 in order to make their way anywhere outside of town.
In the neighboring town, the largest employer stood with stacks and billowing steam. A decades old paper mill famous for making coated paper that could be found in National Geographic and other famous magazines. This mill was the economic heartbeat of our river valley region. Employing nearly ten thousand people at one time, automation and changing industry needs shrunk the business to twenty-five hundred. Most men, fathers, and husbands worked in the mill because the mill provided the best financial security with health insurance, pension, 401k, vacation time, and competitive wages. My dad worked there for 45 years and at age 72, still consults on an annual project.
Business built up within the community to support the mill, the employees, their families, and all of the tourists who would pass through annually. My mom’s family ran and operated an incredibly successful restaurant for 50 years, hosting and entertaining customers from all over the world as well as the local regulars who grew up alongside all of us.
What did I learn?
Check out these 4 lessons:
Lesson #1: The Power of Community – community shows up. When someone is sick, they bring soup. When there is a tragedy, the American Legion hall bustles with a fundraiser. When there is a fire, someone starts a clothing drive. When someone dies, you put on your best clothes and you go to the funeral to show your respects. Community sees you, cares for you, and shows up for one another. Amen.
Lesson #2: The Power of Work Ethic – roll your sleeves up, dig in, do what needs to be done no matter your title, position or role. Whether it was shoveling snow off the field so we could play our State Championship field hockey game in high school or waiting tables and prepping the salad bar for the two bus loads of tourists that just pulled up, we all did whatever it took to chip in. We worked and worked hard. Everyone. Nobody lives on Easy Street and nobody rides for free.
Lesson #3: The Power of Cleaning Up Your Mess – the paper mill was very typical in the ‘80’s to other manufacturing facilities in the US, forgoing any thoughts of environmental protection. The river was polluted with waste while the insides of the buildings were covered in asbestos. Regulations and laws required investments and cleaning initiatives. Having clean rivers and working conditions was critical for the health of the community at large. But, that also translated to our home and the way my parents meticulously cared for our home, never letting anything go untended. “Fix little problems before they become big problems” was a regular motto.
Lesson #4: The Power of Attitude – There are No Strangers Here – there was a sign that hung in our restaurant that read, “There are No Strangers Here, Only Friends You Have Not Met.” A living motto for our family. Families and couples would come through and dine with us. Everyone had a story. Some would come through every year at the same time as they vacationed in Maine, some would come through every Friday night as their ritual date night. We knew the people, knew their stories, welcomed them in, and were certain nobody felt like a stranger.
Growing up in this small town molded me and made me into the woman I am today. My values and my core essence are from the amazing people who raised, taught, and influenced me. While I had big dreams and starry eyes for bigger and brighter destinies, I would not trade this upbringing and I am grateful to return regularly to be loved and cared for; and to remember just what matters most. Here’s to my hometown, a humble beginning and all of the lessons and experiences that helped form my foundation.
I am Lori Pine, the Joy CEO and I can teach you to be the Joy CEO of your life too. This way of living is available to anyone with an open mind and a willingness to grow.
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Lori Pine is an award winning Corporate Vice-President, team leader, and goal-getter who has worked with global powerhouse brands Anheuser-Busch, The Coca-Cola Company and Campbell’s Soup Company. Now a Certified Executive Leadership Coach, Lori helps women executives establish healthy organizational practices with the goal of creating thriving professional and personal lives. Lori learned first hand the pressures of being a woman on the rise and all that comes with making it to the corner office. Her friends and clients call her the trusted clarifier because she can see a problem clearly and identify a pathway with compassion and action steps. When she’s not helping fabulous women find more joy, Lori is traveling the world, reading books, or soaking in her family and friends. She lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley of NY with her husband, her 2 sons, and her 2 Golden Retrievers, Lucy and Annie.